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  • The Journey Back (Has this been done?)

    I've been thinking about how a lot of epic adventure stories (e.g. Lord of the Rings) detail a very long and involved journey through distant lands, with various dangers and pitfalls and encounters all along the way, and then they finally reach the destination and kill off the big bad monster and/or find the great treasure.  And the next thing we see, they're back home celebrating.  

    But what about the journey back??  Presumably, if the journey was so long and perilous and eventful on the way there, it should be as eventful and treacherous and difficult on the way back, perhaps even moreso considering how weary they must be by that point.  So, I'm wondering... are there any books, movies, games, etc., that cover the journey back?  I guess the only thing I can think of offhand is the second act of Into the Woods, which sort of covers what happens after  "happily ever after".

    If it hasn't been done, then I think that might be an interesting narrative jumping off point for an adventure book or movie.  As it begins, the group of heroes is high-fiving each other outside the big bad's lair, throwing gold treasures around and thanking the gods for having the strength to defeat the evil that was threatening their world.  And then they start heading back... at which point things start to look troublesome again.  Maybe we get some flashbacks or allusions to what happened on the way there, and so they'll deliberately take some different directions on the way back (um, we should probably avoid that fire swamp this time, don't you think?), but by doing so, they encounter some different challenges, perhaps worse than before.  And there might be some politics and arguments involved about how the stories of what happened will be told or how the treasure will be divided.  Perhaps someone in the party is carrying the guilt of having made a bad choice when fighting a dragon previously, which cost the lives of some of their party... and then on the way back they find one of those people still alive, which only adds to the guilt and tension because he's all mangled and cursing the guy who caused that the rest of the way back.  Maybe some of the evil ones' minions are still lurking around and are seeking revenge, and now the heroes are all weary and weak and not able to fight them off as well as before.  In essence, they finally return but much different in mind and spirit than when they left their hometown to begin with, which is the usual expectation for adventure stories, but they're also much different than when they first started the return journey.  The fame, the glory, the riches... it doesn't mean so much, anymore, compared to just making it back at all.  I think that the context of the story being about the return journey could make for some very interesting material.

    Presumably, this kind of thing has been done already, and if so, I'd be interested in reading a story or seeing a movie like that.  And of course an adventure game could be based on that premise... cooperative, but with some fracturous loyalty among the group and the chance for split-off groups or traitors.  And since the beginning point is at the "apex" of the experience, the group would start with a large amount of treasure and glory and strength and unity, but that would quickly dwindle throughout the journey, with few chances to regain any of that.

    Anyway, what do you think?  Has there been a book or movie like that?  Any thoughts on a game design with that premise in mind?

  • The joy of losing

    I've discovered something about myself whilst playing boardgames, I don't mind losing and I could end up enjoy a session even more for the stories I get out of those lost games.

    Don't get me wrong, I love winning and can be seriously competitive in wargames, miniature games or abstracts as I'm measuring myself against the wits of my opponent and I have to devise a plan and execute it to outsmart him, that's fun as hell for me.

    However, when playing other boardgames I don't mind losing, it's fun to win but it's more important to me to really understand the inner workings of the game.  I have the feeling that by not choosing the optimal play or the safe way I can make mistakes that'll help me learn more about the game or find new strategies that haven't been found because nobody bothered to look outside the box.

    Sometimes I play with people that critize my decisions but I don't mind, because I'm learning.  I guess it comes from the work that I do, I get to test new computer systems and install them for the company I work for, so I have the responsability to know just how much stress the system will handle, what are it's bugs, it's common issues, etc, I have to know it by heart; that way I'll become the expert on it.

    And that's the mindset I bring to the gaming table, I don't aim to be the best the first time or the first plays even but I will try to get to know the game as well as I can so in the future I can rip it apart and win.

    Another side to the joy of losing is with adventure games; I don't mind losing on them as long as I've had a terrific time with the game.  Sure I can always run away from that challenge that seemed to high for my, I can evade that red dragon but I am not a pussy, I am not playing in some strange land to seek comfort, I am playing to bring back tales of epic proportions.

    Sometimes you win the fight, others you lose but I'll always look fondly back to those memories, thinking of how I stood against the dragon or the mighty Ancient one, how I tried to seal all the gates and got lost in some bizarre dimension.  I play so that there will be songs for my deeds and when I get to talk to my friends I don't tell them I played another game but that I stood against such powerful monster and how I faced hime.

    Either way you have to remember: losing will always teach you more than winning and when you finally win, it tastes all that much better.

    Or even better, forget everything I said because you're playing to have fun and nothing else matters.

  • The joy of losing

    joyoflosing.jpgThe joy of losing in games. It's actually quite good to lose.

  • The Joys of Red November

     Red November has quickly become one of my favorite games.  I even enjoy playing this game solo.

     It is the best "bang for your buck" game out there.

    Here's why:

     All that and a bag of chips?

    Packed into the slim silverline package comes a ton of bits and cardboard.  FFG has mastered the "cheap but cool" game corner with silverline titles like "Citadels", "Colassal Area", "CIA Vs. KGB" and "Red November" definitely has its value thing workin'

    You get 8 plastic gnomes, 9 plastic markers, a simple yet thematic and beautiful board, 3 wooden cubes (yeek!),  a nice deck of cards, a 10-sided die,  and dozens and dozens of cardboard chits. Add to this a nice slimline rulebook and you begin to see why, once everything is punched out, it barely fits in the box. The insert is their typical cardboard split-level, but really needs to be thrown out in order to fit everything in the box.

    The cards are, unfortunately, tiny--but a full-size deck of cards wouldn't fit.(they would've needed to expand to the "Cavetroll" style box for that) The cards are good quality and, can be shuffled, though not easily. 

    The plastic gnomes are well molded, but fragile at the connection point because they were going for an "action" pose with the gnome running frantically.

    And oh FFG and their cardboard.  This company knows cardboard better than any I've seen. This goes back to their "Diskwars" games and has only gotten better over the years. 

    Everything about this title's components screams FFG quality in a tiny package.  All for $24.95 I really can't stress the value you get here enough.

    What kind of game is this?

    Firstly, this is a co-op game with a little screwage built in (and more in the optional rules.  Everyone plays a gnome on the nautical nightmare: The Red Novembera submarine bent on killing itself and its crew. Your job is to keep the sub afloat until help arrives.

    Red November compares well with other co-op games. I've played "Lord of the Rings", "Vanished Planet", "Shadows Over Camelot", "Arkham Horror" and "Battlestar Galactica" If I were to rank it among them, it would be second only to "BSG". But that really isn't fair because the 2 games are sooo different in mood and playstyle.

    Having taught and played all of the above, Red Novemberwas the easiest to teach. Why? Because all of the "gameness" (to which I'm referring how the game is programmed to challenge and defeat the players) is contained in the deck of cards. The cards you draw are determine what goes wrong on the sub.  There's no multiple tile draws, multiple card draws, foes to manage, or other things that may intimidate new players.

    The hardest concept to grasp in the game is how time is used. On your turn you may do anything you wish,  but it all takes time. To this end, the outside edge of the board is a timer set to 6o minutes. When it reaches zero for all players, the game ends. If the sub is afloat, everybody wins, otherwise everybody loses as the sub has managed to kill them all.

    Time and its use

    To move around the board takes time, to pick up items takes time, to put out fires takes time--you get the idea. What you can do on your turn is move to any room on the ship that isn't on fire or flooded or jammed shut. (these are all common problems on the good ship Red November)  Once you get where you're going, you can attempt to do something--but right, you guessed it--it takes time to do it. 

    So let's say you enter a room on fire and want to put out the fire.  Well first of all, you either need a fire extiguisher or having consumed your liquid courage. (you can't enter a room on fire without a fire extiguisher or having drank some grog)  Items give you bonuses to attempt jobs--in this case fire extinguishing--so you start with a +3 in either case here.

    Now, you can try to roll a 3 or less on the 10-sided die (all tests are against the 10-sided die), or you can spend time improving your firefighting skills--1 minute per 1 bonus on the die. So let's say you spend 5 minutes--then 3 (for your liquid courage) + 5 = 8 or less. If you succeed--great, its out! If not....then the fire continues to burn and you may have a real problem.

    The player then moves a generic timer along the outer edge of the board for each minute he spends. Then he moves his own timer to catch up to where the generic on is. As the timer moves, it stops on triggers for events and the random event card is drawn--most of the time something bad, but sometimes nothing happens--which is good...  Once his timer has caught up, then the next player takes their turn.  Make sure your players understand how time works in this game. It's crucial to getting the most from it.

    The variety of challenges is what makes this game so great. From fires breaking out, to rooms flooding with water, to even a kraken attacking the ship, there's almost always some crisis that has to be dealt with. There's a definite frantic tone and mood that this game brings to the table, unlike any other co-op game I've played so far. Partly this is due to the small amount of downtime. Players turns usually take less than a minute. The rest of the tension comes from the deck as you draw disaster after disaster and wonder how you're gonna survive!  Many games we've made it to the last player's turn only to lose on the last card drawn!!! NoOOOOooo!!! WE OVERHEATED AGAIN!!!!

    What's not to like?

    The fact that the game is working hard to KILL YOU DEAD can be frustrating or exhilerating depending on whom you play with. I love this game for the tension it creates among the group. But, if you're one of those who simply hates losing--this game will kill you.  Even at its easy setting, its challenging.  There are some "basic" strategies to playing, but because of Bruno Faduitti's notorious chaos factors built into that simple deck of cards, sometimes your best play will still get you killed.  Add to this the die roll (Oh I can roll an 8 or less...&#*!!@&!!! ) and nothing's a given.  Oh sure you can play it safe and go for the auto succeed (You can use time to get it to a 10 or less) but...that next event may just sink you!

    There is player elimination. If you pass out (and you can because of drinking too much grog) in a flooded or on fire room, then you die--simple as that. It doesn't happen often, but it can upset some players. Thankfully, the game is shorter than others so you don't sit out too long.

    There's little screwage. If you happen to find a pressure suit then you can escape the sub and leave your friends to die while you live the high gnome life, but you can only do this at the very end of the game--10 minutes to rescue or less. And, IF they survive, they all win and YOU LOSE!!!! But, if you're hoping to be the cylon-gnome of the crew then nuts to you! No traitor roles here.

    So what do you really think?

    This is simply THE BEST co-op game out there that I've played so far.(haven't played PANDEMIC yet and BSG isn't really a co-op game IMHO) It's easy to teach, the bits are FFG Fabulousness, the gameplay is great with plenty to do and tension aplenty, it plays in an hr or less so you can try again after it's done killing you the first time, and, did I say it before??? IT'S ONLY $24.95!!!  There's so much to like about this game!  And it's replayable! So what it doesn't have this expansion or that expansion. It will keep you coming back for more because this game is fun at what it does best---trying to kill you. AND IT'S EVEN FUN SOLO!! In this case, you manage 3 gnomes. Because the game is easy to play, you can manage those 3 gnomes easily. I've run myself through this gauntlet as often as Dungeonquest!  One afternoon I played 3x on my own simply to try and beat the little #%$$!@&  only to lose each time.

    By the way--I'm really a gnome...

    If I sound like a fanboy or some gnome employee of FFG its because this is a game not to be missed IMHO.  If you don't like co-op games because of their "gameness" (the game plays you) then give this a try. Bruno's chaos factor ratchets the tension up in this game unlike any co-op game I've played, and many regular boardgames for that matter. If co-ops seem too "Euroish"for you--get over it!!! This game has an Ameritrashheart through and through. The closest comparison would be a co-op version of Dungeonquest. I don't THINK the game can kill you on the first turn, but you never know. Just 'cause it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it can't! (okay 1st event--my room is on fire, next event--my door is jammed shut...uh guys?)

     Try this game and get your doomed gnome on!


  • The Last Kings of Mars: Sword and Planet pt. IX; Recruitment and Mapping

    So I've been experimenting with map designs and ideas, and I thought I would post them and get some more feedback. Fortunately, nothing at this point is unchangeable - in fact, cards are the only thing even printed - so I'm going to keep tweaking things to receive feedback. All the graphics at this point are to give an impression of what the game could potentially look like, but for playtesting, I'm going to create some really minimalist maps and counters for ease of printing. I like to visualize a more final product to get feedback from designs. I also just like playing with graphic design.

    So one of the big obstacles has been deciding how the work movement on the map. Hexes? Small or large? Point-to-point? Area? What? I still have no idea for certain, but have been experimenting with smaller hexes than what was demonstrated last post. I'm expermenting with moving the relevant city information off map to give more room for hexes and terrain. Here is the first result.

    From recruitment demo

    I've tried to make the cities blend in to the "satellite" view of the map, and I think with some decent amount of success. The cities are supposed to seem like ruins, and I think I got that across with some success. The trouble with the map, however, is that information must now be stored elsewhere, which some may find irritating. 

     Now, on to the storage of information. Cities really only have a few essential functions as of this point. Tracking resource availability, control and also recruitment. I've never covered recruitment before, but it will be dependent upon control of certain areas and its costs will change based off-of relationships of armies to the race and caste of the hero or villain attempting to recruit. Below is my rather minimalist mock-up of what an off-board (or side-board, I'll demonstrate this later) city box would look like.

    From recruitment demo

    This is the box for Sedat Herij, a city that is located in the map above. The double lines cutting behind the numbered boxes indicate that it is a double-fortified city, although I need to find a better way of showing this. "SE" is the cities abreviated name for all cards and effects. The boxes track the relative value of the city, which can grow or shrink at any time, grey is radium, the common currency of Mars, and blue is science, a bit more intangible, but a valuable resource for building powerful weaponry and technology. 

    The boxes beneath are the recruitment boxes for the city, which will demonstrate the units currently available from Sedate Herij. Counters would be stacked in these boxes according to the set-up indicated on the counter (This has me worried, I'll get into it later) and will only be available to recruit from the city by the controlling player or a friendly player. You can only recruit from the top of the stack and any of the boxes at or below where the control marker is currently at. The more pristine the city is, the stronger units that can be recruited, and the weaker the city is, the weaker the units. Units at the top of the stack at the beginning of the game would be of decent value, units in the middle would be the strongest and units at the bottom would be the weakest. Wars escalate, but finally wear down the resources of the cities. There would also be similar recruiting boxes for tribes, regions and mercenary pools.  Below is a quick mock-up of how this concept would work, but keep in mind, the units are just for demonstration purposes, the final will look nothing like them.

    From recruitment demo

     So here, you see the control marker is on the second box from the right. If this player wanted to recruit, he could recruit any of the units on the top of the first three boxes, but would be unable to recruit the cavalry on the far right. If the player wanted to recruit that unit, he would have to expend resource cards to bring the cities value up. If he was to tap the cities resources this turn instead, he would degrade the cities resource box down one, and the next impulse, would only be able to recruit the two units on the left. If it was to drop again, his selection would be very limited. Players can target each other's cities with raids to degrade levels of the cities, preventing valuable recruitments for opponents, and possibly saving them for a later conquest of the city! If a city is ever destroyed, units in the lowest box would join the common mercenary pool, but all others would be lost forever. 

    Now, here is the issue. To fit these boxes on the map, it has to be shrunk to accomodate them. This has me thinking of two approaches: either placing a border around the map on which these boxes and other tracks will be or removing them altogether, and using cards to demonstrate this.

    Next  blog I will demonstrate the card idea to give an idea of what I'm thinking of. In short, it would reduce the map to a plain hex-map with cities but no information. The only counters on the board would be heroes, and counter indicating control and location points. Cards would represent all cities keeping the necessary tracks and all units would be on cards instead of counters. They would be stacked with their appropriate hero like they were any other type of equipment. 

     For now, though, here is a rough idea of the hex map with the border and how it will play out. The graphics are crude, but I think you can get an idea as to how it would work.

    From recruitment demo

     Around the frame of the map, all relevant information would be kept, but damn, it would be mighty cluttered! There will be a total of 26 cities on the map! 

     Next time: Cards instead of counters and more!

  • The Last Kings of Mars: Sword and Planet VIII, Notes.

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    It's been awhile since I have posted any progress about my Sword and Planet design, but unfortunately, I've not had much time to work on the design since my last blog postings. School has been busy, as has work, but now that I have some time off, I'm going to try and get some more progress and hopefully feedback. 

     When I posted the previous map, I had some concerns over the point-to-point movement, so I've tried to come up with an alternate hex-based map. The hexes are pretty enormous as they have to be able to accommodate the size of the cities and their relevant information.  Of course no facet of this design is concrete, so even those may change, but I feel that the changing value (generally the degradation of the cities) is an important part of the theme. 

      Image Hosted by

    My biggest concern about the big hexes, is the lack of variable terrain (I can only see 2 terrain types working on such large hexes, clear and obstructed) as well as the lack of maneuvering. One of my ideas for the design, is small armies chasing one another around terrain. This would not be the case with hexes. Army movements would only be two or three hexes with this map. Not sure how I feel, but I thought I'd get some ideas.

    Here's the point-to-point map for comparison:

    Image Hosted by

    One issue I have with the design is fighting my natural inclination to make everything extremely complicated. I do, however, wish to keep armies in particular very diverse, with each unit type having a host of strengths and weaknesses. I'm not looking to just have armies and cavalry, I want to have Antorgan Royal Cavalry. I want to have Mercenary Rocket Infantry! When it comes time to playtest, I'll have the counters with more information than needed. If I feel they are too complicated, I'll strike details from further counters. 

    Here is my mock-up for the design. Of course, the graphics are terrible, but I just wanted to put something together for the time being.

    Image Hosted by

     I've already made a large amount of cards, so that's pretty time consuming. I hope to get a draft of the rules sometime in the near future, to finally get the pieces together from the void of my mind. 

  • The Long Game

    Back about 10 years ago when I started getting back into board gaming it was all about playing and trying out as many Euros as possible.  During that time period it was rare if I ever played a game more than 4 or 5 times.

  • The Long Road to Civilization

    I'm not a fast learner. I've played enough games of Civilization by now to know that the technology victory is the hardest one to achieve.


    Bit cramped at the start

    Collecting 15 coins is relatively straightforward and can be achieved in fewer than 10 turns. You need to focus on developing the tech cards which allow you to gain coins in the city management phase and then pile on the resources. It helps to play the Romans, who start with Code of Laws, so you first victories over villages also count towards your end goal.


    Reaching the end of the culture track is also achievable in this time frame, once you see the consequences of the strategy, ie forget about technology (you need the trade points to advance) and use the culture cards to delay predators from conquering your capital.


    There's always a chance of capturing a capital, but if your opponents are awake, they'll see you coming and prepare. It then becomes a war of attrition, burning through your victim's deck of units, something that other players might profit from.


    So to actually attempt to win through technology, which means you need to collect another 14 technology cards, in a hierarchical order, is taking the hard road. There's not many ways to develop more than one technology each turn. Even the Russian spies are limited in usefulness, although the odd gifted technology from a culture event card or village (from the expansion) and winning the race to Atlantis (also in the expansion) may help a little.


    Since the table seating is relevant in Civ, I'll start showing that last Friday night, in clockwise order, we were: Spaniards (Andries), Arabs (Rob), Germans (Paul) and Greeks (me). This meant that Andries and Paul and Rob and I were natural allies against our neighbours.


    There's the Germans in blue, with the Spaniards in green closing in as well


    The Spaniards and Arabs both set out on a culture victory strategy, but Paul, as first time player, decided to go for the military route. So why I persevered in my attempts to win through technology I cannot tell. It was foolish and with a highly aggressive Teutonic neighbour, I was inviting disaster.


    Soon the Prussian army was knocking on my door, destroying a scout and threatening a city. Of course I was glad to be rid of these uncouth advances when the Arabs (Rob) started to draw his attention. I also cannot explain Rob's brawn here, because he'd just received a bloody nose from the Spaniards (Andries). There really wasn't much for him to defend with.


    And there the Germans have done their evil deeds, and turn northwards


    Paul quickly defeated two of Rob's armies and killed one unit after another. This left the Arab capital almost defenseless and when Andries drew the extra move culture event from his magician's hat, he could walk in with the result never being in doubt.


    It was a rather sudden end, but a fairly predictable one. Andries fully benefitted from Paul's aggression, while Rob and I were distracted. Not sure how you can handle this, other than by the players themselves.


    I was very happy to see how well Paul picked up the rules. There's quite a lot of them, especially considering that he's had to digest the basic game and expansion at the same time. He quickly made the leap from rules to strategy and played a solid game, whipping Rob's and my asses.


    It was the first time for Rob and Andries, and Paul of course, to play with the Fame and Fortune expansion. And although I'd tried some bits, I hadn't experienced it all at the same time.


    I like how the generals have been toned down a bit, the metropolis is an interesting addition, as are the three 'lost civilisations' and the new civilizations add diversity. The best is probably the addition of a 5th player. However, the investment cards haven't delivered for me yet.

    This entry was published earlier at Rear Guard Action

  • The Lost Expedition of A.T. Avery: Gulf Games23


    The following excerpts are from a fragment of a journal found washed ashore. Much of what was found was undecipherable from the numerous bloodstains, burn marks, and general poor condition of the book.

    Day 25

    We've journeyed north into an unknown land named after a local tribe. Apparently the tribe has gathered at the site of an ancient artifact which may be of some scientific interest to our party. My faithful sidekick Zoghby assures me that the natives are friendly and that we will have very little trouble communicating with them. Our archivist Dr. Baden is particularly interested in meeting with the natives and has brought along a peace offering. He has fashioned a crude box and inscribed the surface with a the image of people in ancient clothes amongst an ancient city. Although the box looks valuable, he assures me it is quite worthless. My sidekick seems to think this is a good idea and also fashions similar boxes. I take a box called RA and another that is a child's toy filled with wooden bits. We gather our provisions and begin our long trek to this place called Chattanooga...


    Day 27

    The journey to this foreign land was uneventful. My guide and manservant Zohgby has done an excellent job of navigating and we have arrived at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. We are greeted by the leader of the natives, a great chief with much power. His name is Shloesser and he seems happy to see us. We have offered our gifts of supplication to his Shaman Berg. Berg takes our boxes and we are made welcome by the tribe. They call themselves the Gulf Gamers and we are lead to an arena surrounded by structures. The structures are fabricated from strange boxes much like we fashioned. The natives indicate that the structures are ‘games'.

    Although they are like no games I have ever seen, Dr. Baden seems fascinated by the structures and begins studying them intently immediately. I attempt to communicate with the natives as best I can. Fortunately, I have planned ahead and know some simple sentences.

     natives guide

    Day 28

    I am beginning to wonder if journeying to the Gulf Games was a wise idea. Dr. Baden is acting increasingly strange and the natives behavior is incomprehensible to me. They will often stare at the boxes and move bits of colored bone or wood about. It makes me wonder where they have accumulated all the bone from...

    Late in the day, my foolish manservant Zohgby has inadvertently put us in danger. He had run up to me excitedly carrying an artifact called "Journey to the Center of the Earth." It indeed looked like an exciting find- possibly something filled with theme that would lead to adventure. He said that the chief had ‘taught' it to him and I was eager to study it. Shortly after I began to discern its secrets did I realize it was some sort of trap. Although it looked like an exciting find, it had some evil juju. I could feel myself aging at an accelerated rate and my life began to drain from me. Desperately I ran from the table and grasped at another artifact familiar to me: Shadowhunter. This was reputed to stave off evil magic and I did indeed feel less feeble grasping it. I went through the simple ritual associated with it and began to feel better. How many other of these structures contain such traps....?

    Day 30

    Dr. Baden has gone completely native. He seemed to regain his senses briefly during a game of "I'm the Boss" but other than that he has completely succumbed to the evil spells of the boxes. He speaks to me and I can barely understand him: I am unsure what "suboptimal" and "efficient" mean, but I think they may be part of whatever evil curses flow through the stacks of boxes. Also my battery of simple phrases has failed me.

    I have heard of relics that could counteract such evil magic but so far I have yet to find anything . I will continue to seek out Monsters menace America, Arkham Horror, Decent but have little faith they lie amongst the stacks. I fear Dr. Baden is lost to us.

    Day 31

    I have resorted to carrying dice games with me. Although many of the natives grumble, the games are amongst stacks and thus within the proscribed rituals of the tribe. They are safe to handle and I can mingle without fear of attack. Another explorer has shown up as well. One called Branham. I tried to warn him away but he simply waved a hand at me in dismissal. He has much strange gear to me which is both fascinating and horrific. I will have to investigate Branham later to see what he is about. His companion is a striking woman called Sandy with dark eyes. Very dark indeed.



    How long have I been here? I have no idea. The party is lost. My manservant is now part of the tribe....Was he always a Gulf Gamer??

    Dr. Dan still talks with me, but his eyes are tinged with madness and he laughs at odd moments. More than once I have seen him look at me with the eyes of a wolf. I will not turn my back to him if I can help it.

    I had given up all hope of finding anything valuable when we began a ceremony of great majesty and power. All the natives stood silent in honor of a great fallen warrior named Kevin Gonzoles. I had met this mighty one and was struck by the beauty of the ceremony and by the honor of his memory. His demise was a great loss.

    Following that we exchanged gifts. The shaman Berg lead the ceremony and brought forth our offerings. Though I was late amongst the exchange, I discovered a true gem amongst the other strange boxes: a copy of the great Cosmic Encounter. I was thrilled with the discovery. Furthermore, I was called again, this time awarded with a diamond. (or as the natives pronounce it Diamont). When all had cleared there *still* remained yet more treasure. The natives dismissed it as worthless, but I knew the true value of the item called "Venus needs Men." This was strange culture indeed to leave diamonds and treasure sitting amongst the rubble while fighting over worthless trinkets like Le'Havre.


    Day... unknown

    I am weary beyond words. I cannot remember the last time I ate or slept. The strange rituals of the boxes roll through my mind and threaten madness. I feverently clutch the treasures I have found and wander aimlessly. Perhaps I'll find home. Someday I will visit the gulf gamers again. Their strange culture still holds many secrets and if they discard such great treasures as the ones I hold then surely their roads must be paved with gold...

  • The Men of Ameritrash Beefcake Calener

    Seeing as it was proposed a while back but never got off the ground, I present the Men of Ameritrash Beefcake Calender. Orders are now being taken for the 2010 version.



    Mr January: Conan the Barbarian

    Conan the Barbarian


    Mr February: George Taylor


    George Taylor


    Mr March: Feyd Rautha

    Feyd Rautha



    Mr April: Frankenstein




    Mr May: Dar




    Mr June: Lee



    Mr July: Jonathan E

    Jonathan E


    Mr August: Khan



    Mr September: Roy Batty

    Roy Batty


    Mr October: Vazquez




    Mr November: The Humungus



    Mr December: Zed


  • The Messy Game Room Episode #13.

    Episode 13 of the Messy Game Room features discussion on Campaign Manager, Sword of Rome, and Victory Point Games (Soviet Dawn, Zulus on the Ramparts, Israeli Independence).

  • The Messy Game Room Episode #8.

    Another episode of the award winning Messy Game Room podcast. On this show, Mike and Marshall weave a tale of gaming that spans from the beaches of Anzio through the sands of Arabia to the mythical kingdom of Camelot. In other words, they talk about playing Command Decision Test of Battle, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and Shadows Over Camelot. They also discuss cheating in Wits and Wagers and Mike's experience with playing Space Hulk and Marshall's experience watching Mike play Space Hulk.



    Thanks and enjoy!

  • The Messy Game Room Episode 35

    Mike and Marshall talk about Space Empires 4x, Cards Against Humanity, Advanced Squad Leader, and some other stuff. They argue about the decline of GMT and the rise of MMP (at least in one man's mind). Their thoughts on infidelity. And more.

  • The Messy Game Room Podcast Needs YOUR Help!

    The next episode is going to feature a discussion on how, where and why we buy our games. We would love to have EVERYONES input on this, including your opinions how,where and why you buy your games where you do.

    You all know where we are going with this, and we didn't want to just throw up a poll, and read the results on the show. So make your best arguments, and we will discuss them and give our thoughts on the next episode.

    Mike and I will NOT post our thoughts in this forum,(you'll have to wait to episode #4 to see what we think), but we, of course reserve the right to make smart-ass comments.

    To get the creative juices flowing, we are making this into a contest as well. The most thought provoking, intelligent, opinion/argument will also receive a new copy of Tahiti: Clan Warfare, Polynesia 750 AD that has been donated to The Messy Game Room courtesy of The Book Stop (

    Ok so you know the rules, in order to win you must be a guild member, and we will all find out in episode #4 who wins.

    Good Luck!

    Leave your feedback here! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The Messy Gameroom and the Zombie Apocalypse

    Episode #26 Baby!


    This month Mike and Marshall discuss All Things Zombie, The Walking Dead:  The Board Game, Bears!, and Resistance.  Other topics include Wal-Mart, new authors, and Blood Bowl.


  • The Messy Gameroom Episode #10.

    The Messy Game Room episode 10 features more discussion on Columbia Games' latest, Richard III. Other games Mike and Marshall discuss include Combat Commander Europe, Castle Panic, Citadels, Hammer of the Scots, Bang!, Lord of the Fries, Pickomino, and Sal's Case Blue Game. They also recount their experiences at Fall In! 2009.

  • The Messy Gameroom Episode #12.

    The train-wreck that is Episode #12 is available for download. There are some surprises thrown in for good measure. Mike and Marshall don’t talk about games, but Colin (yea THAT Colin) gives us a nice review of Stronghold, and we get an ass-kick review of Combat Commander: Battle Pack #2 Stalingrad from an unexpected place.

  • The Messy Gameroom Episode #19.

    Is up and ready and can be found by following the link below. Please enjoy, and as always, stick your feedback and comments up your own ass, because we don't beg you for donations.

    Hey, ya' get what ya' pay for!

  • The Messy Gameroom Episode #21.

    Is up and can be enjoyed (or not enjoyed) here. Whatever.



  • The Messy Gameroom Episode #24!

    The boys are back, covering such hard hitting topics as; Hearts and Minds, Resident Evil Deck Building Game, Seven Wonders, Charles Dickens, and Ozzy Osbourne.